Libraries Academic Software Policy

Approved and Adopted by Libraries Leadership, January 23, 2020

This policy governs JMU Libraries’ procurement of academic software in support of the University curriculum and research. Departments, faculty and researchers requesting an institutional license for academic software should follow these guidelines and consult with their liaison librarian, instructional designer/educational technology instructor, or other Libraries staff who would submit a request. All academic software acquisitions initiated by the Libraries for campus-wide use will adhere to these guidelines.


  • There should be broad curricular and research interest in the software to be acquired. In order to maximize impact, we strive to acquire academic software licenses useful to the largest number of people, and preference will be given to requests that meet that requirement.
  • Software requests that do not support the wider campus community or those with restrictive license terms should be referred to the academic department, school, college, or other entity from which the need arises.
  • Software that is currently being used for class instruction, particularly for core or general education courses, will be given priority.
  • Access should not be restricted by college, school or department if purchased by JMU Libraries.
  • “Single user” licenses will not be purchased (e.g., iTunes model). That is, if only a single user (or project team) can use the software based on restrictive license terms or technical requirements, the Libraries cannot purchase the software.
  • The Libraries will review usage statistics annually, where available, and after consultation with the requestor(s) or other stakeholders, may choose to discontinue a software license.


  • Software must be actively maintained and recently updated by the vendor.
  • Software should be in full production release (e.g. not a beta version).
  • Software must work within the current campus environment.
  • Software must meet all JMU Campus Technology standards and pass a risk assessment. (See University Policies 1201, 1202, 1204, 1205, and 1214 and the Higher Education Community Vendor Assessment Toolkit (HECVAT))
  • The liaison librarian, instructional designer, or Libraries’ technical support team member will work with the departmental representative to submit a brief justification as to why the requested solution is needed and why it is the most suitable solution.
  • Product license must be institutional.
  • Vendor must be willing to sign any relevant addendum and to strike or add terms and conditions of license at the request of JMU Libraries, Procurement, and/or Technology.
  • Requests for freeware and open source software may require additional review.
  • Individual support for licensed software is generally through the vendor and support information for each software is provided in the applicable individual software download pages linked from the “Available Software” sections of JMU’s Software Services website. (Example: NVivo)


  • Purchase decisions will be made based on availability of funds, quality of product and need.
  • Cost-sharing agreements with other units on campus may be investigated.
  • Purchase decisions will be made by a review committee similar to CDC and will adhere to all University and Commonwealth of Virginia Procurement requirements.
  • All purchases will be made within specified JMU Procurement guidelines.

Source of Authority: Academic Software Review Committee of JMU Libraries